Police to get powers to ground rogue drones to boost security around airports and prisons

Police are to get sweeping new powers to tackle the problem of rogue aerial drones around airports and prisons.

Monday, 27th January 2020, 12:01 am
Police will be given stop and search powers around airports and prisons in new drone legislation going through Parliament. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Officers will have the power to land, inspect and seize unmanned aircraft thanks to new legislation which will be considered by MPs today.

New stop and search powers around airports and prisons will help tackle illegal drone use, and those breaking the law could face on the spot fines

Users will still be able to obtain permission to fly drones for purposes such as photography and surveying.

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The Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill has its second reading in Parliament today, Monday, January 27.

The legislation will give the police new powers to land, inspect and seize drones if an offence has been committed and a warrant is secured.

Drone users could also face an on the spot fine for certain offences such as failing to provide evidence that they have the correct permissions and exemptions if found to be flying their device too high or too close to buildings, or failing to provide evidence of competency or registration.

Transport Minister Baroness Charlotte Vere said: “Drones have incredible potential, whether that’s by transforming how we move goods around or saving lives in search and rescue missions.

“Most people using drones want to do so responsibly, and we encourage them to familiarise themselves with the law.

“We are confident these police powers will be used proportionately to both deter careless drone use and to tackle serious, malicious criminal activity.”

Security Minister Brandon Lewis added: “This Bill is a vital part of the Government’s strategy to tackle the illegitimate use of drones and protect the UK’s growing drone industry.

“For the UK to establish itself as a global leader in this exciting technology it is vital police have the powers to crack down on those who intend to use drones to cause harm or disruption.”

The Government is also reviewing the UK’s approach to tackling the malicious use of drones, including testing and evaluating counter-drone technology.